Book Review: The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid

Cover of "The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chron...
Cover via Amazon

Carter and Sadie Kane may be siblings, but they are completely different: Carter is responsible and mature; Sadie is reckless and rebellious.  Carter looks like their African-American father; Sadie looks like their British mother (she even speaks with an accent!).  Because of a disagreement in the family after their mother died, Sadie lives with their grandparents in London; Carter travels around the world to archeological digs and museums with their father.

The only time Carter and Sadie see each other is two days out the year: once in the summer, once in the winter, which are the only times the court allows their father to visit Sadie.

One year, during the winter visit, their dad accidentally blows up the Rosetta Stone and sets five ancient Egyptian gods loose: Osiris, god of the dead;  Isis, wife of Osiris; Horus, son of Osiris and Isis and heir apparent to the throne of the gods; Set, god of destruction; and Nephthys, wife of Set.  Not only that, but Set immediately imprisons their father in a golden sarcophagus and vanishes, leaving Sadie and Carter to take the consequences of vandalizing the museum.

Even though they don’t fully understand what happened and, more importantly, how, Carter and Sadie realize that they are the only people who can save their father from Set.  They set out in pursuit of the god, with some help from their mysterious Uncle Amos (whom they haven’t seen since before their mother died), and their guardian, the cat-goddess Bast.

But Set isn’t the only enemy the kids have.  The House of Life, a group of magicians who overpowered and sealed away the gods in the first place, blame Sadie and Carter for setting the gods loose, and are even more unhappy when they realize the kids are working with Bast.  How can Carter and Sadie save their father when both Set and the House of Life are doing their best to prevent them from winning?

In classic Rick Riordan-style, The Red Pyramid kept me engrossed until I turned the last page.  Though I didn’t like The Red Pyramid as much as Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, there was still much to enjoy about this first book in The Kane Chronicles.

Sadie and Carter are perfectly portrayed, as are Amos, Bast, the House of Life magicians, and the various other gods they come across.  The setting, which ranges from London, England to Egypt and France, from America to the spirit world of the Duat, feel realistic enough to hop on a plane and go there.  (Well, you actually can go to America, France, and England, but never mind.)

The plot is fully developed, with very few loose ends (none if you don’t count the mild cliffhanger ending).  The story, however, feels a little more forced than the Percy Jackson series, like Riordan was reaching a little too far.  It’s also a little blander and slightly more far-fetched than the Percy Jackson series– or maybe I just like the Greek gods better than Egyptian ones.  Either way, it’s still a pretty good book, and a great one for those days when you just want to read an adventure.


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